The Hague, Sep 10: Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto, who faces charges of crimes against humanity related to the deadly post-election violence in 2008, has pleaded not guilty, Al Jazeera reported Tuesday.
“How was it that somebody innocent, I am not saying not guilty, somebody innocent, has come before this court to answer charges that will be shown to be patently false,” Ruto’s lawyer Karim Khan told the International Criminal Court (ICC) here.
The trial of 46-year-old Ruto Tuesday comes just days after lawmakers in Kenya approved moves to withdraw recognition of the court’s jurisdiction.
Any move by Kenya to leave the ICC’s Rome Statute will have no effect on the current trials, but observers fear it may spark an exodus of court member states in Africa, where all the ICC’s current cases are based.
Ruto and his co-accused, radio boss Joshua arap Sang, 38, each face three counts of murder, deportation and persecution after a wave of violence swept Kenya in 2007-08, leaving at least 1,100 dead and more than 600,000 homeless.
Both will plead not guilty.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, a one-time political foe of Ruto’s turned ally, goes on trial at the ICC on November 12. He also says he is innocent.
The ICC, the world’s only independent, permanent tribunal for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity, took charge of the cases after Nairobi failed to set up a tribunal of its own in line with agreements brokered by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan.